All posts by Ella Laakso

Slovenia, you stole my heart

Zdravo!

Did you know that Slovenia has a coastline? Or where Slovenia is, for that matter? That’s okay, neither did I until it came across on the list of partner universities and that’s how it all got started…

I did my Erasmus exchange during autumn semester 2017 in the small but most beautiful town of Portoroz in Slovenia. I am an International Business Student, but I majored in tourism, so that’s why I chose to apply to the Tourism Faculty of University of Primorska. Main campus of this uni is located in nearby city of Koper and Tourism faculty is in Portoroz, which is the main tourist area of coastal Slovenia.

I took 4 courses to study (the list of available courses held in English was small, but after many students asked about it, they added more options): Entrepreneurship in Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Product of Slovenia and Consumer Behavior in Tourism. I enjoyed all the courses, especially Tourism Product was very interesting and we made several excursions and studying was made fun. The quality of teaching varied quite much depending on the teacher, but all of them spoke English very well, which was also the case in all Slovenia, everybody spoke English so I never experienced any language barriers.

My hometown, Portoroz.

 

My jogging route by the sea.

 

My weekly schedule consisted of two or three lessons, so I had a lot of free time, which I appreciated very much and pretty much used it to traveling within Slovenia but also around Europe – during my exchange I visited Italy (multiple times given it was only 40 km from Portoroz), Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia. Pro tip: If you want to travel around, go to Slovenia either by your own car or rent one from there, because the public transportation doesn’t function that well.

 

 

Marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

 

The autumn semester, in hindsight, was not the best possible timing for exchange studies in a tourist attraction area, because there the season ended in September, and our studies only began by then. This meant that many restaurants and bars were closed for the season, so we didn’t have so many options what to do on our free time. Portoroz has only approximately 3000 inhabitants, so it was a quiet and calm place during my exchange. The locals told that during the high season, it’s hard to even find a parking spot because it is so crowded  everywhere and filled with tourists, but that seemed hard to believe when walking the quiet streets.

When we were not travelling, we were usually having dinner together with our Erasmus group and enjoying the subsidized student meal system called Boni, which allowed us to eat in restaurants for a student-friendly price of 2,50 €. We also went bowling, to the movies or shopping in Koper, which offered more activities.

 

Ice skating rink and Christmas market in the heart of old town in Titov Trg, Koper, Slovenia.

Overall, I would say that I really enjoyed my exchange. Studies were very laidback and did not require much time or effort, so there was a lot of time for everything else. Also, Slovenia has such a convenient location in Europe, so it is fast and affordable to travel around- there is even a ferry going from Piran (neighbouring town of Portoroz) to Venice during the high season.

Also, because only the tourism campus was located in Portoroz, our Erasmus group got to know each other really well and we were a tight group from the beginning and I am glad to say I gained many friends from this time.

 

Moon Bay in Strunjan, Slovenia where we did an excursion during Sustainable Tourism course. In the background you can see Trieste, Italy.

-Ella